A COUPLE who have waited more than a decade to tie the knot saw their wedding plans go up in smoke when fire swept through Sheffield Ski Village.
Karl Smith and Natalie Hobbs, both aged 47, were left devastated after discovering a huge blaze had ripped through the Ski Village in the early hours of Sunday, destroying the complex.
The Vale Road centre has been shut indefinitely while the scale of the damage is assessed.
The news comes as a huge blow to the couple, who finally decided get hitched in August last year after more than 14 years together.
They chose to head to Gretna Green for a small ceremony in front of a group of close family and selected the ski village to play host to 150 guests for the main celebrations.
The official ceremony will go ahead as planned in Scotland tomorrow but the couple have been forced to cancel the reception, which was due to take place on Friday.
Karl and his bride-to-be had opted for a self-catered party, meaning cash spent on food will be lost.
Karl, of Frecheville, Sheffield said: “My daughter rang me on Sunday morning saying the ski village had burnt down. Natalie and me both looked at each other, we were numb, we couldn’t believe it.
“We paid a small deposit, but we’re not bothered about that. It’s finding a venue. A family friend sorted the food as a wedding present to us and now it will go to waste.”
Fire service specialists yesterday began the task of trying to establish what sparked the blaze at the wooden Alpine-style facility. It is thought the fire may have been burning for three hours before it was reported.
A team of 25 firefighters from across the city battled to try to bring the flames under control. They drenched the flames with 3,000 litres of water per minute from the River Don but were unable to save any of the building, which was destroyed.
Ski Village spokeswoman Vicky Lloyd said managers were ‘saddened’ to confirm the extent of the blaze. She said customers with events booked at the complex should contact the management team.
Martin Carr, a freestyle coach with the Sheffield Sharks Ski Club, based at the Ski Village, said: “We are in contact with the Ski Village management to see what the future plans are.”
n Ski village customers with functions booked can email email@example.com and visitsheffieldskivillage.co.uk
n Can you help Karl and Natalie by providing a venue for their reception? Email firstname.lastname@example.org